OKLAHOMA CITY — Changes to state law made during the 2012 legislative session resulted in about $30 million more for lawmakers to spend, including about $16 million that has not been appropriated, a state board determined Monday.
A new initiative by the Oklahoma Tax Commission to more aggressively collect delinquent sales taxes accounted for nearly $14 million, while the redirection of motor vehicle fees to the state’s general revenue fund brought in millions more.
Those revised figures were approved during the regular meeting of the Oklahoma Board of Equalization, a seven-member panel of state officials.
About $14 million of the additional revenue was already appropriated by lawmakers as part of the budget for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1. But an additional $16 million could be appropriated when lawmakers return in February or added to the fiscal 2014 budget, said Shelly Paulk, deputy budget director for the Office of State Finance.
Gov. Mary Fallin said the additional revenue could help fund necessary improvements to the deteriorating state Capitol building or help pay for a reduction in the individual income tax rate that she has been pushing.
“There’s still a lot of important priorities that I hope we can address this legislative session, and having more money will certainly help with that,” Fallin said. “We still haven’t taken care of the Capitol needs, the structural repairs that need to be made at the Capitol.
“Of course, I’ve advocated for a long time that I’d like to see us continue to lower our income tax so that we can give more money back to the taxpayers.”
Along with the $14 million from the new Tax Commission collection initiative, $17 million was generated through legislation that redirected certain motor vehicle taxes to the general revenue fund.
Lawmakers eliminated a late tag fee waiver for inoperable vehicles that is expected to generate about $5 million, while a change to redirect delinquent registration and excise taxes to the general revenue fund resulted in another $14 million. However, about $1.6 million in motor vehicle collections was diverted to fund county road and bridge improvements, resulting in a net gain of more than $17 million to the general fund.
However, other legislative changes cost the state revenue, including new sales tax exemptions for the sale of certain aircraft parts used for manufacturing and for surviving spouses of disabled veterans. Those two exemptions totaled about $600,000. Other bills redirected some money from the general revenue fund to specific agencies.